Latest Public Sector News

31.07.13

London Councils push for council control over high street

Vacant shops are damaging London’s economy, costing £350m in lost trade and earnings, a new report shows. London Councils found almost 7,000 empty retail units, and have called for greater powers for local councils to tackle this.

The report, Streets Ahead, calls for councils to have more powers to limit betting shops, payday lenders and fast food shops, which they say can deter visitors and create damaging social effects in the form of obesity, debt and gambling addiction.

Giving councils more powers could help to stimulate growth and create new jobs, London Councils added.

Other recommendations include simplifying existing local planning tools for high streets, encouraging joint working with the GLA and TfL on public realm improvements, coordination on integrated local transport systems and coordinating existing business support.

Dianna Neal, head of economy, culture and tourism at London Councils said: “The study’s findings highlight the need for the radical devolution of power and resources to councils to help businesses adapt to a changed consumer environment.

“The Government could halt further decline by devolving powers to councils to support high streets, such as the ability to stop the damaging spread of betting shops, payday lenders and fried food outlets.

“Councils are already innovating, but giving boroughs additional  powers and resources would go a long way in really creating the conditions for high streets to succeed – creating much-needed jobs.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Image c. Martin Pettitt

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